Wood Chewing a Sign of Boredom;
May also indicate a nutritional deficiency
With the onset of winter, more horses
will be spending most of their days stabled, often leading
to time spent standing at the stable door, boredom and wood
chewing. Wood chewing by horses is a potential cause of health
problems including excessive wear of the upper incisors, splinter
damage to oral parts, and colic associated with the ingestion
of wood fragments. Not to mention, wood chewing is destructive
and carries with it an economic factor due to the damage to
stalls, rails and fence posts.
Wood chewing is reported in young horses, in particular when
their temporary incisors are being replaced, and is a well-known
predisposition seen in approximately 30 percent of the U.S.
adult horse population. Several known conditions that cause
wood chewing include boredom, nervousness, seasonality, the
feeding program, confined environments and lack of social
interaction. However, there are strong indications that nutritional
deficiencies and poor housing environmental conditions are
among the top reasons for the development of the condition.
A new product available to horse
owners uses a nutritional approach to stop wood chewing
by addressing underlying nutritional deficiencies and actually
stops the potentially harmful behavior. Found at most tack
and feed stores, QUITT® is scientifically formulated to
eliminate a horse’s wood chewing habits. The powerful
formula combines essential vitamins, micro and macro minerals,
and fatty acids all in a pH balanced alfalfa pellet. Tests
indicate that most horses will stop wood chewing seven
to 10 days after daily supplementation with QUITT. As
a complement to this nutritional approach, it is recommended
that damaged wood boards in the barn be replaced and the
horse provided with regular exercise.
Also damaging to horse and property
is cribbing. Horses that crib will take hold of practically
anything and arch their neck, gulp in air and grunt it out.
There are several theories on why a horse enjoys the act.
QUITT is specifically designed to address wood chewing. It
is not designed to stop cribbing.